Happy New Year, everyone!

2012 was a busy and productive year for us at CQuotient. We accomplished a number of things we are very happy about and we are looking forward to 2013.

The holidays always put me in a reflective frame of mind and as I thought about our experience working closely with several retailer email marketing teams this past year, I was struck by an apparent paradox.

Two things are true for just about every retail marketing team we met in 2012.

  • They are smart, tireless and adding a ton of value to the business
  • They are leaving a lot of money on the table

What??

Let me explain.

Email marketers are clearly savvy. If you are one, you know I speak the truth ūüôā If you are not, just take my word for it!

Email marketers are clearly hard-working. The email calendar of most retailers is very full with at least 1 email campaign a day. Creating, validating, sending and measuring these emails day in and day out is a herculean task!

Email marketers clearly move the needle for the business. Without question.¬†Anytime a retailer does an email/holdout test, the answer comes back loud and clear. The incremental value of email is staggering, not just from directly attributable revenue but also because it serves as the “connective tissue” to drive revenue through other channels (I don’t remember where I saw this neat metaphor – it is not my own).

So how exactly are they leaving money on the table?

Relevance. Retailer emails just aren’t relevant enough. Sure, some batch-and-blast emails are relevant to everyone (e.g., 40% off the entire store this weekend!!) but I am talking individualized email campaigns that feel as if a personal shopper who knows you really well hand-curated the email just for you.

At CQuotient, we are subscribed to emails from numerous retailers and the number of individualized emails we get is pretty close to zero. We do get the occasional abandoned-cart triggered email and that’s great but what about the many retailer sites that I haven’t been to in the last few months? Shouldn’t they be sending me something to get me to come back to the site or the store?

We are in a retail environment where the health of your customer file is steadily worsening and one-and-dones make up a sizable fraction of new customers every year. Against this backdrop, is it a stretch to imagine that a series of individualized emails will nudge the customer to shop just one more time or add just one more item to their basket?

The financial impact of a fractional change in customer behavior is obvious and deliriously positive! ¬†So how come our smart and tireless email marketing friends aren’t all over it?

There are some good reasons and I will discuss them in detail in the next blog post. For now, let me just say that it is not their fault.  The blame lies elsewhere.